Police Concerned About Parliamentarian’s Safety

Posted March 24, 2010 at 11:09pm

Tea party protesters are reportedly planning a protest at the home of Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin later this week, prompting Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer to work with local law enforcement officials to ensure Frumin’s safety.

Gainer said Wednesday night that while neither Frumin nor his family have been threatened, activists have discussed protesting at his house.

“We are aware there was an Internet posting about picketing his house over the weekend,” Gainer said.

As an unelected official, Frumin has largely worked in obscurity — until the past several weeks as the health care fight has loomed increasingly larger on the political landscape. He is essentially the Senate’s referee, ruling on procedural matters.

The heightened political stakes surrounding the GOP’s plans to use the Senate’s rules to try and derail the health care reconciliation bill has drawn increasing public scrutiny of Frumin.

As Parliamentarian, Frumin has played a critical role in shaping the all-night vote-a-rama going on in the Senate, ruling against a host of potential Republican challenges to the reconciliation bill designed to derail the legislation.

Earlier in the week, Frumin ruled out the possibility that the GOP could spike the bill based on a challenge related to Social Security, and he has reportedly shot down a number of other procedural challenges Republicans had hoped would force changes to the legislation.

Any changes would require that the bill be sent back to the House; Senate Democrats are working to clear the legislation without changes so it can go to the president for his signature.

Thanks to those rulings, Frumin has found himself squarely in the spotlight — and the focal point of conservative activists’ ire.

Gainer’s decision to take the possibility of protests seriously comes in the wake of a rash of verbal attacks on lawmakers, threats to the lives of House Members and vandalism aimed at lawmakers’ local offices that have shook the Capitol Hill community in the past few days.